My actual method for lighting my coal stove is taken from the manual... I use wood pellets, making a trench across the middle of the burn plate. I light the pellets in about 10 seconds with a propane torch. As the pellets get red hot in about 2 minutes, I push a thin layer of coal up to the red hot pellets (being careful not to smother them). I add a few more pellets if necessary to keep things going. Ususally the coal will start burning shortly, and then the stove takes over. It takes about 15 minutes total. I have left too soon at times and the pellets burned out before the coal actually started.